Ancient Entertainment

The Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum, stands in the heart of ancient Rome. Built by the emperors Vespasian and Titus between 70-80 AD, the amphitheater is 157 ft high. Only a small portion of the original outer wall remains. Ancient sources state that over 9,000 wild animals were killed during the inaugural games in the Colosseum. The venue held between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators depending on its configuration at the time

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Vaulted passageway (vomitorium) under the Roman amphitheater at Italica, Spain

A vomitorium is a passage for entry or exit into a Roman amphitheater or theater. When it was built, Italica’s amphitheatre was the third largest in the Roman Empire. It seated 25,000 spectators, about half as many as the Colosseum in Rome, although the city had a population of only about 8,000. Much of the stone from the upper portion of the amphitheater was “mined” for construction in or near Seville. Italic was founded in 206 BC for Roman veterans of the Second Punic Wars against Hannibal and the Carthaginians. Both Emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born here.

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Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past

Roman Amphitheater


The Roman influence in Arles, France was significant. Both an amphitheater and a theater were constructed. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheater could seat over 20,000 spectators for chariot races and gladiator battles.  After the fall of Rome, it became a fortress, and the interior held over 200 housing units. In 1825, it was declared a national monument and was returned to its original use.  Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting during the Feria d’Arles and plays and concerts in summer. The tower (one of three) is a medieval addition.

Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past

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